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Renewing Your Home's Wood Trim in Five Easy Steps

If your home has wood siding and wood trim, it will require periodic maintenance and re-painting. The siding is usually good for quite a long time, but due to a number of factors the trim may need more frequent attention. If you are seeing gaps in the trim around doors and windows, or if the paint is peeling or flaking on shutters or overhangs, you need to attend to it before the problem gets bigger. Here is how.

1. Determine what color you want to paint your trim. Maybe it's white and you like it that way. OK, but you can give your home a quick and dramatic facelift merely by changing the color of the trim. Pick a contrasting color to that of the siding, but note that if you have dark trim and want a lighter color, it will take more coats to cover completely. Choose the type of house paint you want, and then buy high-quality exterior trim latex at your local paint store or home improvement store.

2. Prep before painting. Use a scraper or a wire brush to remove flaking, peeling old paint. If there are gaps around doors or windows, you will need to fill them with a good outdoor caulk. You may have to remove some of the old caulk before applying the new. After running the bead, smooth it with a trowel or your finger. After the caulk dries, lightly sand the entire trim surface with an orbital sander.

3. Mask around the trim so you don't get trim paint on the siding. Put drop cloths down so you don't drip paint on patios, decks, or shrubbery.

4. Use a proper size brush. A 4" brush will be fine for overhangs and larger trim pieces, and a 2 ½" brush will probably work best for door and window trim.

5. Start painting at the highest point on the house (usually the overhang) and when it is done, go to the second story windows (if any), then to the ground floor. Paint the trim around each window and door starting at the top, then working down the sides and finishing with the bottom trim. If you have shutters and they are easily removable, take them down, put them on a couple of sawhorses, and paint them before putting them back up.

By doing the trim painting yourself, you will only incur the cost of the paint, which is about 15 percent of the cost of having a contractor do the job. It will also take some of your time, but you will have the satisfaction of a job well done.